The news comes six long days after Twitter sleuths first identified suspects based on their Facebook check-ins in proximity to the crime, and was confirmed in a press release from the Philadelphia DA’s office today:
The District Attorney’s Office has approved arrest warrants in connection with the assault of a gay couple on the 1600 block of Chancellor Street in Philadelphia on September 11, 2014. The individuals to be charged are 24-year-old Philip Williams, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, and 24-year-old Katherine Knott. All three defendants are from Bucks County. Each will be charged with two (2) counts of Aggravated Assault, two (2) counts of Simple Assault, two (2) counts of Recklessly Endangering Another Person (REAP), and one (1) count of Criminal Conspiracy. Once charged the defendants will be arrested by police.
Though several witnesses and the victims identified eight assailants from a group of 12 aggressors, two men and six women, it appears as though only two men and one woman will be charged with crimes. Verbiage in the press release seems to indicate that the investigation is completely over, which means at least five other assailants managed to escape justice.
We originally reported that the attack, which stemmed from a confrontation between a large group of heterosexual assholes and two gay passersby at the corner of 11th & Chancellor in Center City, was unprovoked. Several witnesses described the event as a violent gang beating — both victims were hospitalized with severe bruising.
Last Thursday, a Catholic high school basketball coach named Fran McGlinn was fired after his involvement in the attack was learned. Sources began reporting that members of the gang of 12 could perhaps have been former classmates from the same Catholic high school.
According to a police source speaking with Philly mag, charges for the crime took so long because police “don’t have time” to investigate these kind of crimes:
“I’ve heard plenty of people saying that we shouldn’t even be handling this case, because it’s a simple assault, since we don’t have the hate crime laws like that. They got punched in the face and beat up. That’s not something we’re handling normally. If [you] got punched in the face, it’s simple assault. You would fill out a private criminal complaint. We have a pretty strict policy here of what’s aggravated and simple. Guy gets punched in the face and gets a tooth knocked out, simple assault, a private criminal complaint. If we had to handle every single fight involving black eyes and knocked-out teeth, we wouldn’t have time to do everything else. Unless he was hit with a pipe or a weapon, we’re pretty lax when it comes to aggravated over simple assault.”
Earlier today, out Senator Jim Ferlo, Senator Larry Farnese, and out Rep. Brian Sims spoke in the capitol about strengthening the state’s hate crime law and expanding it to include the LGBT community. There’s a million of us in this state and we deserve the same rights and the same protections as everybody else,” Sims said.
Though arrest warrants have been issued for 24-year-old Philip Williams, 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, and 24-year-old Katherine Knott, arrests have yet to be made. It has been speculated that the assailants would seek a self-defense claim if charged — stay tuned for more updates.